Mike Fucito, Timbers vs. Sounders, 6.24.12
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

What makes a Rivalry? Kicking + Screening Film Festival aims to find out

Among the opening lines of Uruguayan writer and poet Eduardo Galeano’s landmark Soccer in Sun and Shadow comes the following,

Years have gone by and I’ve finally learned to accept myself for who I am: a beggar for good soccer. I go about the world, hand outstretched, and in the stadiums I plead: ‘A pretty move, for the love of God.’

And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.

It is a sentiment that believes there is a true artistry to the proceedings on the pitch. Soccer, at its best, can provoke creativity and illumination.

For the creators of the Kicking + Screening Film Festival, they’ve taken that same belief and transferred it into the artistic qualities of film. Founded in 2009, the festival aims to bring together both soccer and film lovers who love the beautiful game.

After editions in New York City, Amsterdam, London, India and more, K+S is now coming to Portland for a special three day series of events that revolve around the theme of rivalry. Presented in partnership with the Portland Timbers, sponsored by KICKTV and with the Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders Cascadia Cup clash on Saturday (12:30pm PT, NBC, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940, presented by adidas) as the back drop, K+S Portland is a great appetizer prior to the huge match.

"We're thrilled to make our Portland debut this year, especially around such an intense experience as a Portland-Seattle match," says K+S founder and director Greg Lalas. "The passion for the game in the Pacific Northwest is unparalleled in the United States and makes a festival there a no-brainer.

Beginning tomorrow Sept. 12, the festival starts with a literary turn at K+S Word (7:30pm PT, Bazi Bierbrassiere, 1522 SE 32nd Ave). Hosted by Steven Lenhart and Bob Kellett of the Five Minutes to Kickoff podcast fame, the event is an evening of spoken word readings based on the German tradition of Torwort. Guests include NBC Sports.com’s Noah Davis, film critic and author Shawn Levy, writer Zach Dundas, Bazi Barbrasserie owner Hilda Stevens, University of Portland professor Andrew Guest and UC Davis professor Alon Rabb.

“In my life I have made friends and found common enemies because of a simple game called football,” Lenhart says. “I've huddled in damp basements with friends and drank in shady back rooms of pubs with people I would never see again because of this game. Anyone who has been a part of these tribes has a personal story to tell. K+S Word is an opportunity to tell these tales.”

Thursday and Friday’s events move to Urban Studio in the Pearl District (935 NW Davis St.) with a screening and post-film panel following each. First up on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7:30pm is Argentina Futbol Club, a documentary about the intense Buenos Aires crosstown rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate. Preceding the film will be the short, Loucos de Futebol, which is a humorous take on the Forteleza-Ceara rivalry in Brazil. Participating on the panel following the films will be Timbers forward Mike Fucito--the only player to suit up for both the Timbers and bitter rivals the Seattle Sounders in MLS—and the Argentina Futbol Club’s writer and producer Gavin Sullivan who will discuss the inner workings of passionate derbies.

Friday’s offering keeps things moving with the thrilling Gringos at the Gate, a documentary that examines the complicated and fiery US-Mexico soccer rivalry directed by Pablo Miralles, Michael Whalen, and Roberto Donati. There will also be a screening of the short A Most Improbable Life about how a Mexican “found his soccer soul in America.” Following the films, the evening’s panel will feature director Miralles, as well as A Most Improbable Life’s director Josh Taft and star Santa Maria. One final guest to be featured on the panel that evening is longtime MLS star, former US international and KICKTV host Jimmy Conrad who scored his lone international goal against Mexico.

Tickets—which include an after party—are $13 and are available for Thursday and Friday’s screenings. Wednesday’s K+S Word event is free though all are 21+ events. For more information, visit www.kickingandscreening.com or buy tickets online for Thursday and/or Friday.